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The National Killam Program consists of the Killam Prizes, the Dorothy Killam Fellowships, and the Killam NRC Paul Corkum Fellowships.

The Killam Prizes are awarded to active Canadian scholars who have distinguished themselves through sustained research excellence, making a significant impact in their respective fields in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, and engineering. 

The Dorothy Killam Fellowships provide support to scholars of exceptional ability by granting them time to pursue research projects of broad significance and widespread interest within the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering or studies linking any of these disciplines.

The Killam NRC Paul Corkum Fellowships provide support to distinguished scholars, granting them time to pursue a novel project in collaboration with an NRC researcher, leveraging NRC facilities.

Submissions for the 2025 National Killam Program will open on April 2, 2024.

Killam Prize nomination package

Prize description

Dorothy Killam had a vision of building Canada’s future through advanced study. Through her will, Dorothy Killam established a perpetual trust to realize her vision and fund generations of scholars in Canada.
The Killam Prizes are intended to honour distinguished Canadian scholars who have been engaged in research in universities, hospitals, research or scientific institutes, or other similar institutions.
Normally, one (1) prize is awarded each year in each of five (5) disciplines. They are awarded annually, on a competitive basis, for research done in any of the following disciplines:
  • humanities
  • social sciences
  • natural sciences
  • health sciences
  • engineering

Terms and conditions

If the nomination is successful, the terms and conditions will be fully outlined in the notification letter.
Recipients of the Killam Prize:
  • must confirm acceptance of the prize and agree to keep the results confidential until the National Killam Program Office makes its official announcement. 
  • consent to disclose any information that may constitute a significant departure from generally-recognized standards of public behaviour and which is seen to undermine the public reputation of the National Killam Program. 
  • must agree to allow their photographs and public information to be used for promotion of the prize and in other National Killam Program promotional material. 
  • are expected to participate in prize-related events and activities, which could include, but are not limited to: news conferences, award ceremonies and receptions, and to make themselves available for media interviews. 
  • are also asked to provide copyright permission for the use of reproductions or clips of their work on collateral and press materials associated with the Killam Prize, and on the Killam Trusts’, the National Research Council of Canada’s and partner websites and social media channels. 
An individual may receive this award only once in a lifetime.


The Killam Prize is valued at $100,000.
Prize recipients should contact the Canada Revenue Agency or their provincial or territorial revenue department with any tax-related questions.

Nomination information

The nominator is responsible for providing all the information and required documents. The National Killam Program Office will make eligibility decisions based on the information submitted in the nomination.
Carefully choose the documents submitted in support of the nomination, as the Selection Committee members have limited time to study each nomination.
All submissions are to be digital, and only accepted through the online portal. It is important to inform the National Killam Program Office of any changes to contact information following submission.
Please consult our guidance page for more information on key elements to include in your submission package.
Each year, the National Killam Program Office will notify the prize recipients by telephone and in writing before the end of February. It may also notify other nominators in writing, at their discretion, of the result of their nomination by the end of March. Except for notifying prize recipients, the National Killam Program Office will not contact nominees.
Recipients and their nominators may not reveal the results of the competition until the National Killam Program Office makes its official announcement of the annual winners. The results are made public in the spring.
A full list of past recipients of Killam Prizes is available on the Killam Laureate website.

Nomination process

Nominators must complete the online nomination form, and provide the following documents while adhering to the indicated maximum word count in English or French, by 23:59 (applicant’s local time) on June 6, 2024.

The National Killam Program uses a two-stage selection process including external expert peer reviewers and a multi-disciplinary selection committee. Please ensure that all materials employ plain-language, using clear and simple terms, and are written in a way that a non-specialized audience would understand.

  • Nomination letter (1,000 words in English or 1,200 words in French)
Letters of nomination are used to inform peer assessment as well as evaluation by a multi-disciplinary Selection Committee. Nominators must include a brief, plain-language summary of the nature of the nominee’s research, details on the nominee’s distinguished contributions to scholarly research, and a rationale as to why the nominee is an outstanding candidate for the Killam Prize.  
Further, nomination letters must clearly specify:
  • the Killam Prize discipline in which the candidate is being nominated, and
  • the nature of the nominator’s relationship with the nominee.
To reduce the potential for unconscious bias in the evaluation process:
  • please refer to nominees consistently by their surname(s) and use gender-neutral pronouns.
  • Biography (500 words in English or 650 words in French)
A biography for the nominee, summarizing the candidate’s education, distinguished research achievements, current research interests, and honours or awards received.
  • Three (3) letters of support (1,000 words in English or 1,200 words in French)
The referees may be within or outside Canada. If the letters have been translated from another language, the originals must also be included. Ideally, the nominator will share their nomination letter with those providing letters of support to avoid repetition.
  • Please ensure that each letter of support is unique, clearly describes the impact of the research nationally and/or internationally, and/or speaks to efforts on the part of the nominee to have a multiplier effect in their field.
  • Please clearly specify the nature of the letter writer’s relationship with the nominee.
To reduce the potential for unconscious bias in the evaluation process:
  • Please refer to nominees consistently by their surname(s) and use gender-neutral pronouns.
  • Please remove institutional letterhead.

Nominees who focus on community-based research are encouraged to provide one letter of support that speaks to the importance of the nominee’s research to a particular community or communities. This letter may come from a community leader or a community member.

Note: Community-based research involves active participation of stakeholders whose lives are affected by the research in all phases of project for the purpose of producing useful results that lead to positive changes.

  • Curriculum vitae (30 pages in English or 36 pages in French)
A full CV, including information on all publications and presentations, grants and other fellowships received, awards and/or international recognition.
  • Eligibility attestation
Proof of eligibility requires nominators and nominees to attest that eligibility requirements have been met.

In alignment with the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the National Killam Program asks nominees to voluntarily provide self-identification data. 

The collection of self-identification data is a central piece of the National Killam Program’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan. This data provides information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving funding. This information increases the National Killam Program’s capacity to monitor progress on increasing EDI in their programs, to recognize and remove barriers, and to design new measures to achieve greater EDI in the research enterprise.

Please ensure your application adheres to the above-indicated maximum word and page limits. If your application is incomplete or not submitted through the proper channel, it will be rejected from the competition.

Evaluation criteria

Following Peer Review, the Selection Committee evaluates nominations based on their merit, compared with each other and in a national context and may use publicly available sources of information.

The prizes will be offered to candidates considered outstanding by the Committee. Where a number of candidates considered outstanding and the assessments are not meaningfully different from each other, the Selection Committee will consider cohort factors that will contribute to a diverse and representative group.

The following points will figure prominently in the review and selection of the candidates considered for the Killam Prizes:

Criteria Description Weight
Relevance Exceptional quality of the candidate’s research record achieved in line with the Killam values and including candidate’s outstanding commitment, creativity and efforts to share research knowledge beyond the academic community. 33.3 %
Impact Contribution of the candidate’s ideas and research results to Canadian society, including the nation’s intellectual and/or cultural life; as well as mentorship international stature where appropriate. 33.3 %
Merit Quality of the candidate’s research record and scope of the candidate’s research contributions taking into account the norms of the field of study. 33.3 %

Eligibility criteria

Equity, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to achieving research excellence. The National Killam Program encourages nominations of candidates whose research has consequence and impact, setting precedents and yielding transformative results that serve to build Canada’s future through advanced study.

Below are eligibility criteria to consider when submitting a nomination:
  • Individual nominations may include nomination for multiple categories, but an individual may only be awarded the Killam Prize in 1 category.
  • No individual may be awarded a Killam Prize more than once.
  • Self-nominations are not permitted for the Killam Prize; only nominations by experts in their field.
  • Killam Prizes are intended for active (not retired) Canadian scholars who have made a substantial and distinguished contribution, over a significant period, to scholarly research. A Killam Prize is not intended as an “end-of-service” reward, as a recognition for a single great accomplishment, or in expectation of future distinguished contributions.
  • Only Canadian citizens or scholars working and living in Canada are eligible, and the prizes are awarded only to living candidates.
  • National Killam Program Office employees, members of the National Killam Program Advisory Board, or the Selection Committee may not be nominated during their term as members, and for 1 year following the end of their term.
  • The nominator and the nominee consent to disclose any information that may constitute a significant departure from generally-recognized standards of public behaviour and which is seen to undermine the public reputation of the National Killam Program.
  • A nominator may resubmit a nomination for a specific nominee as many times as desired. However, a new nomination package is required for any subsequent nomination.
Note that meeting the eligibility criteria allows candidates to be nominated for a Killam Prize. However, it does not guarantee prize receipt. The National Killam Program Office retains the right to interpret the contents of the nomination guidelines and form.


The National Killam Program Office and the Selection Committee will not release any information in the application that is specified as confidential, including names or any self-identifying information.
Anonymous demographic information may be aggregated and used by the National Killam Program Office to measure and report on performance.

The Privacy Act gives individuals the right to access and request correction of personal information about themselves.